Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The rest of the circles

   I needed this finish for the month.....I needed the satisfaction of seeing a project to its end.  But what makes this special is the story it tells to me.
    November 2015, I began the year long journey of the Quilty 365 challenge. Make a circle a day and in a year you have enough for a large quilt.
I sailed along until May 2016, and ended up in the hospital and rehab for months.

    Included in the circles are fabrics that create a picture of memories.....events, trips, people I hold dear, and some special fabrics shared from blogging friends.   And several cardinal fabrics claimed a spot too.
    During the months of therapy, I would go thru the stack of circles that I had, laying them out in different ways.

   Lots of floral fabrics--of course---and sewing notions are there too.  A few duplicates worked their way in and I let them have a place in this story.  They are a reminder to me that I often do repeat quilt patterns because that pattern or design fills a need in my creative soul.  
  I broke up the border on this one by inserting some extra squares and a few small circles made just for the border.   I like the contrast, and change in the fabric and size of the circles.  It says, "Don't take yourself so seriously".

   And don't forget to flip this one over!  I had some extra circles.....half circles, and a couple of full ones....but not enough to complete a full row on the front.  I stitched the half circles together and created the offset row for the back.    There was a lot of labor in these circles and halves.....I did not want to waste a single one.

   A better back view shows the quilting better.  Through out the center section I used a meandering curl.....between the circles and over the circles.  The stitching is open---not dense--to have a softer feel.  In the border I used several motifs....feathers. swirls, stacked teardrops, leave and vine.

The label was sewn to the back before quilting.

  This  is called "The Rest of My Story", a companion to The Therapy Quilt.

I thought it was interesting to compare the different arrangement for the layouts.    The Therapy Quilt (on the right)  has 3 extra large circles with selected circles laid out block to block around them.  A solid border finishes it off.

The Rest of My Story has a staggered layout with half circle blocks at alternating ends.  The border is broken up with the added squares and circles.
   And that's my story for February, it seems!  Plans for next months....up next.  Happy stitching.  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Let it be known

  Let it be known that  I believe that inside all of us is beauty to be explored and shared.  Now, what I see as beautiful, others might not and visa versa.   You know beauty is in the "eye of the beholder" and such.  
  Let it be known that I love to inspire others.....to try.  Each of us have a distinct and personal style that we develop.  We must try thru trial and error to find what pleases us, what satisfies that innate spirit that flow from our inner most parts.
   Let it be known that I love to feature others on my blog.  And sometimes I get the email that gives me a boost to my spirit.   Those emails often bring forth a new blog reader/quilter/follower that I have not known about.   Kindred spirits seek one another.

Rose wall hanging block made by Charlie
   One such email arrived this week from Charlie.  She said her therapy is quilting.....I can identify with that.  And my blog inspired her to pull out a 10 year old BOM and finish this first block.....what I love to hear!

   This is the first time for her to try watercolor  or the colorwash style.  And I think she did exceptionally well!    Charlie, it is beautiful and and the applique is gorgeous.   And I am sure that the remaining blocks will be outstanding too.   Thank you for sharing your work.

   Be inspired this week, or inspire others!
Happy stitching.  

Friday, February 24, 2017

Stitching and delaying

  To continue the email/internet etc saga.  The last service guy came and spent 4 long hours, going over everything.   There is no real explanation for our problems.  He did change up a couple of settings, and  that has helped.  There is a port on the new modem that appears to not work properly..... intermittently.  So another one may be arriving soon.  Still no idea why the browser stops working or hangs up.....other than we have very slow speed in the area.  For now I am online..LOL.

   For entertainment and therapy.....I was quilting on Hot Legs for a bit this morning.  I have had this place mat  of plumes sitting for a good while, and decided to get it quilted and finished.   It is ready for binding.

  I moved on to quilting the rest of the circles quilt.  This is the back side, as the stitching really does not show much on the front.  I am using loose meandering curls in an all over pattern.  The center section is done and I have the border to do.

   I was delaying ....trying to avoid what is hanging on the design wall.  The long/very long strips of the 9 patch blocks.   All 14 rows of them staring down upon me.  Just hanging there, looking pathetic and undone.  It wasn't enough to get them all pressed---nice and crisp, they actually thought I should sew the rows together immediately.

    Please make a note to self:   There is little else more boring than to sew long rows of blocks together.   Good reminder......instead of long boring rows, assemble them into large block units.  They are easier to handle even if the same amount of stitching is required.

  I let lunch divert me after sewing up 6 rows......and I also noticed a charm pack under some papers.    I rarely buy pre-cuts, but I caught this on sale for a good price.   I love the blues and tans in the pack.   Of course, I had nothing in mind for it and let it sit on the shelf.
  Enter this pattern from Moda Bake Shop......with Orange Peel shapes!  So I am thinking I can expand on this basic design and have some fun with this charm pack.    I even have some stash fabrics that will work with this too.  A small quilt or table runner?
  And that has been my anxiety loaded week, and I realize the month is almost done!  I will be out of commission on Tuesday due to an appointment with the eye doctor.  So I need to review the month and see if I hit most of the goals.  That's the plan for the weekend......there's a free weekend marathon for the Mystery Woman movies.    So a few movies and stitching those rows up.
Happy stitching.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New email addy

Email Graphic Graphic email graphic

  This is a rant, so you might want to ignore me.
   This is to say.....we will soon delete/remove/throw into the nether land of waste our old email for a new one.  I have set up a new one and attached it to the side bar.  If you leave comments they will come to my new address.  If you are a follower that I routinely converse with, it is an easy change.  Remove the "bellsouth.net" and replace it with "gmail.com".

     I am at the end of my rope/line/wi-fi with ATT......5 calls to troubleshoot, an escalation report, 4 different technicians, innumerable messages left-- with no response---and I am making the break with the giant.  I have heard all, every imaginable excuse for our dropped calls, slow speed, no internet connection, no printer connect, no network connect, etc.....we are at the "end of their loop" in the county, squirrels or critters ate the insulation off the wires, you need to have your computer repaired.....on and on.
   So the email is the first change....have to be able to pay bills, and other stuff.  Once that is settled, then to get that awful cable company to bring in the internet, and then to dump the phones.   It will take a few weeks or more to return to smooth  connections.  I hate being so wired in.
Thanks......hope to return soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Soft package

  I have forgotten to share a photo of my win from Connie at Freemotion by the River.  Fabrics, lots of batik fabrics...... lots of beautiful batik fabrics came in the mail last week, and a surprise pattern.  Connie enclosed her Hopscotch pattern, which will be a great scrap busting project.    Let me give an endorsement for her patterns.....beautiful with good photos, and lots of details.  So be sure to drop by and pay her a visit to check the pattern tab out as well as her tutorials.

  I finished off Connie's Christmas Pinwheels ---in blue --- last week.  Guess I am a little late for the season, but it will probably go into the gift stack for next year.  I had several things to bind, and some string blocks to work on.  Since the internet was out, an afternoon was free to me.

    I wanted some company as I stitched......I watched several episodes on our recorded list.    Enter my latest heroine.....  Miss Fisher of Miss Fisher  Murder Mysteries.  This is an Australian production, and I am hooked on it.  Found on our local PBS stations on the weekend.
    Phryne Fisher  is a gutsy flapper with a heart of gold to match her gun.    Her outfits are amazing to see and she carries them off well.  Great characters and  a period story line make me happy.  Of course, Dr. Blake runs a close second, but that's another story.  
  Happy stitching.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Been out of the loop

   I'm still here....just have been out of the loop due to internet connections.  Or actually the lack of a connection.  I have screamed/threatened/thrown fits and then just gave up trying to be on line.    We have had  a mess for almost 6 weeks but now they say we are good to go.  Fingers crossed/ rabbit's foot out and holding our breath to see what will happen.   If we get taken out again, I think I will move to a very far distant shore.  I can't handle such a mess.

   I have been sewing and keeping up with my plans for the month.  They were of a light load, since I knew it was tax time---very taxing time.   I kept my list simple.

 The on going, big project was to be the 9 Patch.   Notice a change.....I switched from an on-point layout to a straight alternating block layout.
   I will make a full confession here.....the on point layout was driving me crazy and messing with my visual mind.   Since the health issues of last year, I have noticed a problem with spacial thinking and visualizing things in my head.   I am hoping it improves, but have made the decision to give myself less stress and take the easier road.
   Permission grated......So change in layout, and I am going large on this one.  I was thinking of making two quilts with different layouts....nope.  Just one and no applique.  This one will be simple and plain, and  a reminder of those traditional ones I love.  So far I have about 8 strips sewn together and just pinned to the design wall.  I need a pressing session before I begin to join the rows.

  The rest of the circles from the Quilty 365 project are bordered and pinned.  A few extra circles were used to decorate the pieced backing.
So now it is ready for some quilting.  Hopefully, better photos next time I show this :)

   Saying Happy Valentine's Day.   This is my Valentine's candle mat from a few years ago.   The pattern  for the heart was pinned from Riley Blake.  Here is the post.
Update.....this link is broken or has been removed.  That's why I say to pin and download to save.
  Best plan of attack is to pull out paper and pencil.  Draw a large heart  (Mine is about 9" across at the widest point).  Just like the FMQ pattern....continue the swirl into the heart shape at the point of cleavage at the top.  The cut out portion becomes the swirl placed at the base.

  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Watercolor question

Shadows Fall
    One of the watercolor emails, asked for a pattern to make the wall hanging called Shadows Fall.   The wall hanging has a "self-border" that is designed at the same time as the center.    The border value is reversed from the center....dark value border on light area, and light value border against the dark sections.  Then along the bottom, it all blends to give the effect that the center is spilling out.

Value placement guide

   No pattern but I did find something that may help.  I know I shared this before, but I don't remember when and was unable to locate the post.  This photo can be save and then printed to use as a reference for value placement.  In this layout the border is 2 squares wide, where as Shadows Fall is larger and has a border of 3 squares.

   Like I said yesterday, start small to learn the technique and to train your eye for value.

Thanks for the questions.....happy stitching.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Put value into your quilts

  The email basket has been full the last few days with questions about the watercolor and color wash quilts.  I have been asked for patterns, and instructions, and for how-to-dos.
    First, I do not have patterns for the water color quilts, or wall hangings.  Each one is unique, and I couldn't reproduce it if I tried.   Each 2'' square is different and will be used or placed differently in different quilts.   The fabrics often dictate the design that emerges.  I work from impressions of things I see, from photographs that I have saved, and from sketches.

  Second, for instructions please see here......Tutorial to Design a watercolor.  It is a page at the top of the blog.  I have links to several posts of questions.  I work through fabric selection---so important---and then on to a tutorial to design.   I talk about the technique of using fusible interfacing, of how I blend the fabrics, how to use the value viewer, or Ruby Beholder.  The entire page is a how-to-do this thing I do :)

  There are books, and photos, and other blogs to research and study, but the best way to learn is TO DO.    I learn best by doing something.  As much as I love to read, if I want to be proficient at something, I must try it for myself.    So I suggest, if you want to do a watercolor quilt/wall hanging, first try to improve your skills at using value by putting some value into your quilts.

   Here's a simple example from last year.  The block is the Bow Tie block.  Block size is 6 '' here.  I used all floral fabrics for the bow ties, and the background fabrics were mixed from white, ivory and tan, to grey, light blue, and light greens.    The lightest value blocks were grouped in the central area.  The layout progressed to medium value to darkest in the corners.
   That simple arrangement fools the eye and gives a color wash effect to the overall quilt.  Of course, I threw in a zinger by twisting a couple of blocks and making a circle too :)

   Pretty much the same thing for the orange peels.   Once all the blocks were made, I divided them into 3 stacks....light blocks, medium, and darkest ones.   Then guess what came next?
   I arranged the lightest blocks first on a diagonal through the center.  Then the medium value blocks blended into the darkest ones, which I placed on the edges and in 3 corners.    A traditional pattern with a colorwash effect......all because I paid attention to the value.

    One last example from my Year of Floral Quilts.  I should say, I am still in my year of florals......I may need to rename it to the decade of florals.  Oh, well.
  The barn raising layout is off set and then extends into the border on one side.  Note the dark center, and then the lighter ring......Value!

  All time favorite pattern for so many quilters is the log cabin block.  This is a log cabin variation, the half log cabin. This past post gives the details.  

  The small photo shows the value arrangement that I used in each block.
  So pick a favorite or traditional pattern add value into your fabric/color selection.  Cut fabrics, make the blocks.  Sort blocks into light, medium, dark values based on the overall effect of the fabrics used.  Play with layout to show case the blocks based on their value.  Stand back and be surprised.

  Maybe I can inspire you to try putting some value into your quilts.  It is more that just contrast.  It is light and dark, sunshine and shadow.  It is spark and movement, and energy and drama.  A small project is the perfect way to experiment, test your self, and to train your eye.  Please try :)
Happy stitching.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Next up is the 9 patch

   Every where I look I keep seeing 9 patch quilts today.  So I take that as a big push/nudge from my quilting muse :)  And so, the 9 patch is next up.

  This photo is how I began thinking I would do the layout.  I was thinking of adding appliques in the plain squares or along the side.

    So I began sewing a few groups of 3 together and threw them up on the design wall.  Oops... I put them up in a straight set......easier than a diagonal setting.    So maybe I will do it this way.


   Then Bonnie Hunter shared this vintage 9 patch she found while antiquing.    It is on point setting.    Her photo that I snitched....please don't shoot me.  The link will take you to her post.

   All this to say, I am so confused!  I went to my Pinterest board for 9 patch quilts.   I thought I would easily, and completely, be sure which layout I wanted.  HA!    I have close to 90 blocks stacked up, so I may just make one quilt, and make more blocks for another.    I probably should stick with my first idea....that is usually best.

  In the mail.....a couple of days ago, Sir Old Man brought in the mail delivery which included a large red, swishy package!    One glance at the return address and I was smiling.  I had no idea what was inside, but a favorite blogger....namely Sharon at Vroomans Quilts.....was the culprit.
 A few goodies came my way....her guild's cookbook---which is already in service in my kitchen, a pair of floral (squeal:)  fat quarters, and a calendar from the Barn Quilt Trail in her area.  Love all things quilting.  And love special treats!  Thank you, Sharon.

   We are settling in for a colder weekend.....I think that's a good time to bake some bread between 9 patches.  Happy stitching.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Some Plans for February

  I finished off my first month with a lot of scratched off items.  For sure there were several things from last year that totaled up the finish category.   I love using check marks and lines through items......a symbol of done!

     So a new sheet was printed off  and I  began to fill in the projects in the "Active Projects" section.  I listed:

  1. 9 patch
  2. Rainbow Scrap Challenge
  3. Bargello
  4. Rest of the Circles
  5. Batik blocks
  6. String blocks
Oh, no....more projects than I like to have in the sewing room.  Then I reconsidered.....three of them are leader/ender projects that will carry on for a while.  That leaves the 9 patch, bargello, and the rest of the circles to finish up.    That sounds a lot more doable for me.

  Then to plans for the month.....
  • quilt 2 table runners
  •  layout and assemble the 9 patch blocks;  
  • Border the rest of the circles and piece the backing;
  •  make the on-going blocks batiks, strings, and rainbow blocks.
  And there are the basic plans....a good variety and broken into small sections.  Some days I can only find an hour or so to sew, so having some small on going things  satisfies me.  When I am ready to tackle more, I have quilts to assemble, or prep, or add those dreaded borders or bindings to.    This works for me.  

   One thing to share that came across my view........Sew Some Love linkup.  Jo, a follower shared this with me.    Kat is doing a weekly link up to share our charity projects.  She says that anything we are doing out of the goodness of our hearts for someone can be shown and shared.  She also has  begun a local love project called Covered in Love.  She has a wonderful story of  how we can help.  And there is a monthly Block Drive for these quilts....here you can find the pattern.   
  I know the effort it takes to create and present such a project, so I wanted to be sure and spread the word and get her some help.  I think I can fit in a few blocks for the month:)
Happy stitching.
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